ARTIST OF THE MONTH: ARIANA GRANDE
Ariana Grande's debut album "Yours Truly" made waves in the mainstream music world, knocking everyone over with her exceptional vocal range. To this point, she had three top-10 singles and a sophomore album, "My Everything," that shot to number one in the US charts. Released on August 25th, 2014, "My Everything" was a much-anticipated release from the pop singer and was definitely worth waiting for. It is also hard to believe that her debut album "Yours Truly" was only released a year before "My Everything," and that’s because, in those 12 months, Miss Grande evolved from a Nickelodeon graduate to a Pop superstar.
The project's first single, “Problem” with Iggy Azalea and Big Sean, carries through her trademark 60’s swing vibe, though this arrangement is more of a pop-diva-meets-Austin-Powers collaboration. Although in the context of the album, it was the perfect lead single, bridging the gap between the sound of her debut and what’s about to follow. Of course, you’d expect to hear soaring vocals and ear-piercing tones, but the pop-ballad number "One Last Time" features her lower register, providing both a stark and seductive contrast to the album. "Why Try" has a powerful bass and chorus, but Grande borders on whiny as she normally tends to during a high-pitched song.
She has transitioned to more radio-friendly R&B, pop, and dance on this album. This is particularly evident in "Breakfree," featuring Zedd. It's the weakest track of the album, as it comes off as a dance-floor filler but it’s overproduced, losing touch with Grande’s unique selling point, which is the dreamy pop vibes. The album also features collaborations with an impressive array of big names. The strongest collaboration, which is closely matched with the three-way power anthem "Bang Bang," is "Love Me Harder," featuring The Weeknd. Super sexy and oh-so-seductive, it’s a fusion of mild pop and chiller synths, embellished with delicate falsettos and whistle tones.
"My Everything" has many more ups than downs, thereby proving that Ariana Grande had fully lived up to her superstar status. Growing pains are evident, as, with this album, she struggled with singing about maturer things in the midst of sating a squeaky clean fan base. Her sophomore album was a transition one. It doesn't have Stripped's grand ambition but shows us that Ariana is a force to be reckoned with.